Shopping for a new virtual terminal can be stressful and time consuming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. In reality, they all have the same basic function: accepting credit card payments. So really, it is a bit cumbersome to differentiate between “breeds”. That’s why our team of skilled professionals has put together a simple comparison guide that helps you choose the best virtual terminal that fits your business’ specific needs.
Virtual Terminal Basics
A virtual terminal (also known as payment gateway) is a necessary part of any e-commerce business because it connects between a business’s website and their merchant account. Without a gateway connection, web-based credit and debit card transactions would not be possible. Online payment gateways facilitate the use of both website shopping carts and virtual terminals. When a customer enters their card information into a website’s order form, it requires processing. Payment gateways are the communication tools that send the information entered to the website owner’s merchant account at their bank or payment processor. When the transaction is complete, the gateway returns the data back to the website.
COM based virtual terminals, that requires DLL software on the web-hosting server, and a dedicated SSL certificate. Many web-hosts do not allow DLL software downloads.
XML transport virtual terminals, that require a dedicated SSL certificate but no DLL software; they utilize a commonly installed facility on windows servers.
Form based virtual terminals, which are the most common, do not need any DLL software. Not all need a user to have their own SSL certificate.
Comparison for Best Virtual Terminal Providers
When searching for the a payment gateway provider, a business should consider important criteria such as:
- Reliability: Using a well-seasoned payment gateway provider will offer the most reliability. If a virtual terminal experiences frequent down periods, this translates to a loss in sales and revenue for any business using the service.
- Available features: Virtual terminal services can include very useful tools for website owners such as the ability to use a virtual terminal to take a customer’s payment manually, over the phone; fraud prevention tools that limit potential charge-backs including address and card security code verification, recurring billing to easily set up pre-scheduled customer payments, electronic check processing which gives customers another payment option if they don’t have a credit or debit card.
- Security initiative compliance: Checking that the provider chosen complies with current credit card company security initiatives can save headaches and potential problems down the road.
- Types of integration methods: Choosing a provider who offers both simple integration method (SIM) and advanced integration method (AIM) gives a business both flexibility and control.
- Virtual Terminal Cost: Comparing set-up fees, transaction fees, standard monthly charges, and fees for any additional features, makes it easier to choose a cost-effective payment gateway solution.
Comparing all of this criteria, and matching virtual terminal providers to their needs, lets any business find the best virtual terminal easily, and with confidence.